Since so much of the social studies lessons I had focused on the USSR, I take for granted that people know about the Cold War, but my mother, a former social studies teacher tells me that in the last couple decades this topic isn’t covered and younger people don’t know much about it. This video provides a good introduction to the Cold War.
Here’s a 20 minute video about the making of Fanny’s Journey, a well-crafted film based on a true story of a 13 year old girl who’s got to lead eight children out of Nazi-controlled France to Switzerland during WWII.
Based on Fanny Ben-Ami’s true story, Fanny’s Journey shows a thirteen year old girl who must lead her sister and friends out of WWII France into Switzerland. This powerful film captures childhood very naturally. The direction and acting are authentic and captivating.
Fanny and her sisters have been sent away from their parents to live in a boarding house that secretly protects Jewish children. When a priest informs on the boarding house, Madame Forman, one of the adults who run the place, manages to arrange for the children to go somewhere safer. She gets them all fake passports and schools them on what to say to anyone asking them questions en route. Each child is given a new name and Madame Forman tests them on them day and night.
From the start it’s touch and go. Germans are everywhere and Vichy French police are an equal threat. At first an older boy, Eli is in charge of the children, but after he’s arrested, Fanny’s thrust into the lead. She must figure out where to go and what to do next once their train is redirected and they lose touch with Madame Forman. As the going gets tougher and tougher the children feel like giving up and have plenty of complaints. Some are so young they have no idea why Jews must flee or what was happening to Jews throughout Europe. Their ignorance showed their wisdom.
The tension is maintained throughout the film and you’re heart will go out to these children. Fanny’s Journey is destined to be a classic.
In the final credits, you’ll see the real Fanny, who is still alive and has lived in Israel since the end of the war.
Not the expression of collective emotion
Imperfectly reflected in the daily papers.
Where is the point at which the merely individual
In the path of an action merely typical
To create the universal, originate a symbol
Out of the impact? This is a meeting
On which we attend
Of forces beyond control by experiment—
Of Nature and the Spirit. Mostly the individual
Experience is too large, or too small. Our emotions
Are only ‘incidents’
In the effort to keep day and night together.
It seems just possible that a poem might happen
To a very young man: but a poem is not—
That is a life.
War is not a life: it is a situation;
One which may neither be ignored nor accepted,
A problem to be met with ambush and stratagem,
Enveloped or scattered.
The enduring is not a substitute for the transient,
Neither one for the other. But the abstract conception
Of private experience at its greatest intensity
Becoming universal, which we call ‘poetry’,
May be affirmed in verse.
This week we’re prompted to post on farmers, agriculture or harvest. I descend from city folk, none with a green thumb that I know of so I’ll dig through the Library of Congress and Flickr Commons to find some images of Irish farmers since I’ve got a lot of Irish blood.
To see more Sepia Saturday posts, click here.
Ireland, 1920, National Library of Ireland, Flickr Commons
Harvesting, Ireland, 1899, National Library of Ireland, Flickr Commons
National Library of Ireland, Harvest, 1897
Here’s one from the U.K., since I’ve got some British blood and I’ve never seen an oyster farm:
Report on Oyster Cultivation, U.K., ca 1870, Flickr Commons
There’s no dining room or lunch counter in the station anymore, but Union Station has remodeled some lounges to return their old glory.
The Berghoff Restaurant
This Chicago establishment is still in business, though on a smaller scale. I’ve been here a few times with my father. If you’re in the Loop, it’s worth a try.
Marshall Field’s Walnut Room, Gilded Age
Marshall Field’s department story was “the” Chicago place to shop. It’s where Harry Selfridge got his start and Field was a great innovator in retail and a real estate mogul. (For much of his career he was the richest man in Chicago. Books have been written about Marshall Fields’ professional and personal life. He’s been featured in some novels. In Prairie Avenuehe’s represented by Mr. Kennerly.)
My grandmother would take my siblings and I to Marshall Fields for lunch and shopping. We’d either eat in the Walnut Room or the Narcissus Room, where I loved to watch the gold fish in the fountain.
The fountain had goldfish
The menu’s highlights were it’s Field’s salad and hot fudge sundae, which what I’d still say is the best chocolate sauce ever.
Part two of Kobayashi’s trilogy Human Condition maintains the excellence of the first film. Here the hero Kaji is a private in the military. It seems no one on the face of the earth faces more degradation than a WWII Japanese private. Kaji’s particularly targeted because he’s suspect of being a “Red” since he tried to get humane treatment for the Chinese P.O.W.’s stationed at the mine he managed.
The “vets” or soldiers with more experience are merciless in their brutality against the newer recruits. In fact, the sensitive Obara, who’s physically weak and plagued by domestic problems, is beaten and humiliated in a way I’ve never witnessed. While Kaji tries to help, that makes matters worse for Obara who commits suicide rather early on in this three hour film.
Although Kaji is strong and performs his duties without failure, because of his principles, he’s berated and targeted. In no uncertain terms, the film indicts the Japanese military, where a few good men are outnumbered by corrupt brutes. Even when he was in the hospital, he was beaten. The head nurse thought nothing of striking patients!
As in Human Condition, part 1, Tatsuya Nakadai, who plays Kaji, is stellar. I just learned that he was a shop clerk and Koyabashi, the director of Human Condition, discovered him and put him in a film.